Rich Thanks to Digitalization

They are the most valuable corporations in the world: Apple, Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. Their market value of a roughly combined $3.4 billion corresponds to Germany’s yearly economic output.

These so-called superstar corporations occupy such a dominant position in their sector that they are able to expand on the basis of their know-how and their vast capital – new competitors hardly have a chance or are bought out. In addition, they have numerous patents at their command. Both the patents and the lack of competition make it possible for them to absorb gigantic external economies. The enormous profits that this high-tech business model yields can be attained with relatively little personnel. (Amazon is only just working its way up to this condition.)

So, last year the second most valuable German corporation Siemens made a profit of about 16,000 euros per employee (approximately $19,200), Daimler of 30,000 euros (approximately $36,000), Bayer came to almost 40,000 euros (approximately $48,000) and SAP to 43,000 euros (approximately $51,600). The U.S. giants can only smile about that: Microsoft got $170,000 out of each of its employees, Alphabet yet $100,000 more. Apple came up to a figure of $390,000 and Facebook to a cool $600,000 profit per employee.

Welcome to the new world of digitalization, that shifts the distribution to the disadvantage of the employees, which is honored by the stock market and makes the owners of Apple, Alphabet and Co. into the richest people in the world.

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